The Simplicity of a Successful Marriage

Devotionals from Leslie Ludy and the Set Apart Girl Team

The Simplicity of a Successful Marriage

by Leslie Ludy | March 13, 2013

For quite a while, readers have been asking me to blog about my marriage. I find that it’s easier to write about my motherhood journey, because with four young children at home, fresh and funny stories readily abound. My marriage, however, seems to flow along with a consistent strength that is sometimes hard to express in a creative way, and there aren’t as many interesting stories to share. However, as I was thinking about my marriage tonight, I remembered a brilliant quote from C.T. Studd. He said, “Marriage can either a great blessing or a great curse, depending on where you place the Cross.” I love the simple, forthright truth of that statement. It captures one of the most important lessons I’ve learned in recent years: Following in the footsteps of Christ is the only path that leads to marital happiness and success.

Marriage in modern times has become quite complicated. There are endless books that offer breakthrough communication techniques, creative ways to keep romance alive, and elaborate methods of decoding the male or female mind. Some of these ideas can certainly be helpful, but for the most part, I think they cloud and over-complicate marriage. I have found that the secret to keeping my marriage strong is not complex at all. Success is not found through a pile of marriage books or years of marital counseling. Rather, as C.T. Studd said, it all comes down to where I place the Cross. Am I fighting for my own “rights,” my own way, my own happiness? Am I looking to my marriage to satisfy my own personal desires? Or am I willing to die to self, take up my cross, and follow the example of Christ in laying down my life for the sake of another? Selfishness will kill a marriage faster than anything else. And on the flip side, selflessness will strengthen a marriage faster than anything else.

Serving my spouse and laying down my life for him, just as Christ laid down His life for me – this is the simple secret to a marriage that thrives. Do I always succeed in displaying this attitude? Certainly not! It’s a daily struggle – learning to drown my own rights and expectations and consider another person’s good above my own. This definitely does not come naturally. It requires supernatural grace.

But whenever things start to feel blurry or complicated in my marriage to Eric, I know I can open up the best marriage book ever written and be reminded, in a few short sentences, of the fool-proof secret to marital success:

“Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself … Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who ... made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant” (Phil. 2:3,5-7).

What simple, perfect marriage advice straight from the Creator of Romance Himself!*